he welcome to newsday. reporting live from singapore, i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines: the omicron variant fuels a record high of daily covid cases in the uk, with a warning of staggering numbers to come. seeing the destruction for himself — president biden goes to kentucky and winesses the devastation caused by deadly tornadoes. when you look around here, it is just almost beyond belief. these tornadoes devoured everything in their path. a stunning rescue in hong kong — more than 100 people trapped on the roof of a burning building. sir lewis hamilton, for services to motorsport. and — arise sir lewis!
he may have lost his world title but britain's formula one hero is knighted at windsor castle. announcer: live from our studio in singapore, this is bbc news — it's newsday. it's 9:00 in the morning in singapore, and 1:00am in london where the uk recorded its highest ever number of confirmed covid infections. more than 78,500 people have tested positive for the virus, with the 0micron strain causing considerable concern. it's notjust in the uk that 0micron is spreading rapidly. south africa, where the variant was first identified last month, has also reported a record number of daily infections. italy and france have also seen record numbers. the us has confirmed
cases in 36 states. while the philippines and cambodia have detected their first 0micron cases. 0ur health editor hugh pym reports now on how britain is trying to respond. with the rapid spread of the new variant, the booster programme has been given new urgency. here, a gp in oxford visits elderly patients in their homes to give them the top—up jab. but it will give you a very good protection and boost your immunity. with evidence of that good protection against 0micron infection, the booster roll—out will continue. but according to recent research, there's much less of a shield a few months after a second dose, and there's high level concern about how much case numbers could rise. probably the most significant threat we've had since the start of the pandemic, and i'm sure, for example, that the numbers that we see on data over the next few days will be quite staggering, compared to the rate of growth that we've seen in cases for previous variants.
even if most of the extra cases are mild, that could result in more staff absences from key sectors of the economy and public services. and while 0micron may cause less serious illness than delta, a surge in cases would mean at least some extra hospital admissions. one group of modellers has come up with a range of scenarios, depending on what happens with the virus and the take—up of boosters. they say in the worst—case scenario in england, there could be more than 6,000 hospital admissions a day — compared with just under 4,000 at the peak last winter. in the best case, they say it would be around 2,000 admissions a day in england, and all of that assumes that previously announced restrictions haven't been changed. the picture seems bleaker, but vaccine coverage is much more widespread than in the january wave, deaths, for now, are a lot lower, and there are more therapies for covid patients. hugh pym, bbc news. so that's the situation
in britain but i spoke to drjeremy faust for a more global perspective. he's an emergency physician in health policy and public health at brigham and women's hospital in boston. i asked just how prepared the us is for another wave of covid infections. i think our preparation is quite variable across this nation. there are some areas with a lot of vaccine coverage in the highest risk groups and there are areas where the virus is going to find out for itself or we will find out that we don't have enough protection. i think that we have done a good job in getting nursing homes vaccinated into the early phase but now we are seeing that flagging and we have seen that in a lot of cases, staff workers in nursing homes actually are not highly vaccinated. these are areas where our mistakes are going to come back to haunt us right now, so i would say i think we are in a very unusual situation which is that there are some parts of the country that might be experiencing something like a flu season
and there are some parts of this country that are still sort of experiencing something along the lines of the pre—vaccine era and that is just remarkable to see that difference across differentjurisdictions. if we focus on vaccinated people, for instance, dr faust, we are hearing from many medical professionals that boosters of both moderna and pfizer could help provide protection. what is the outlook for vaccinated people who do get a booster? that certainly depends on what we learn in the coming days and weeks and also who the person is. i think it is very clear that this variant, the 0micron variant, will cause more infections among people who have been infected in the past and among people who have been vaccinated and even boosted. the question is, are there groups for whom that implication of that infection is really worse than it was in the previous
era, the delta era, and before. certainly i think we will find that out soon. i don't want people to be at home thinking that the two or even three dose series they have is no longer effective in terms of keeping them safe. i think many people will have that safety but they will be some who will need added protection and i think that is really where we are headed in the next few weeks, to figure out who those people are and how to best detect them. but i think that infections will become more common what we need to then find out is, what is the implications of those infections because i do think that in some cases we are a lot better off and in some areas we still have to catch up. and just briefly, dr faust, what is the way out of this then? are we just then in a potential holding pattern of more vaccinations, more boosters? yes, i think every time a new variant comes along, it will always find the unvaccinated, in terms of our statistics, that is where we will see hospitalisations and outcomes like one covid that we are trying to avoid. the question each time will be,
do we have a lot of protection, a lot of immunity in our communities? and so i think it's time this happens, i suspect it will get better and better at looking at the data as it comes in and responding and saying, what is the threat assessment here? do we have to change what we're doing? look, we have things that we did not have before. we have more access to testing. we have a higher percentage of the population with some degree of protection, if not a great degree of protection. but it is frustrating because we all thought by now we would be better off but i think this virus continues to humble us. doctor faust from austin speaking to us earlier. == doctor faust from austin speaking to us earlier. -- from austin. president biden was in kentucky on wednesday, to see for himself the damage caused by a series of deadly tornadoes.
more than 70 people were killed and more 120 people are still missing. nomia iqbal is in kentucky and sent this report. this is one of the poorest towns in the state. it has been left in an apocalyptic ruin, many people are now wondering what's next. officials say 75% of the town has been destroyed. today president biden came to see the damage for himself. i intend to do whatever it takes as long as it takes, as long as it takes to support your state, your local leaders and recover and rebuild because you will recover and you will rebuild. you know, the scope and scale of this destruction is almost beyond belief. when yook around here, it's almost beyond belief. these tornadoes devoured everything in their path. president biden has signed an emergency declaration for the state. it will provide funds for the emergency management
agency known as fema to help with search and rescue and provide food and water and generators. but many have been relying on strangers for support. sally's manage to find her wedding ring and pictures of her children. she is trying to clear up as much as she can ahead of another storm that's being forecast. we've recovered more than we first thought. at first itjust looked like a big pile of rubble. as you dig through you are able to find some things and we have found some things that were very important to us. which makes me happier then, when you think everything is gone, it's quite heartbreaking. some people say they want more thanjust their neighbours helping. i went to a shelter earlier and some volunteers there didn't want to speak to me on camera claim that the government response by fema has been really slow. they also say they hope the president is notjust here for a photo op.
the president has also visited the town of mayfield, an hour away. kentucky is a republican state — how he and his democratic administration respond to the disaster will be scrutinised by conservatives, the very people he's trying to reach. nomia iqbal, kentucky. let's take a look at some other stories in the headlines: nine people have been killed in a plane crash in the dominican republic. the private jet was attempting an emergency landing in the capital santo domingo just fifteen minutes after taking off en route to florida. america's biggest police department, in new york, is to be led by a woman for the first time in its history. keechant sewell has been appointed by mayor—elect eric adams. ms sewell said she wanted the department to "look like the city it serves" and promised to clamp down on gun crime. the us government has released thousands more pages of previously secret documents, relating to the assassination of president kennedy in 1963. the documents show how
soviet intelligence, communist groups with links to africa, and the italian mafia, were all investigated. but researchers have, so far, not found anything to contradict the official finding that lee harvey oswald acted on his own when he shotjfk. the influential black feminist, known as bell hooks, has died at the age of 69. the author, professor, and activist whose real name was gloria gene watkins, wrote some forty books, starting with a book of poems in 1978. herfirst major work, ain't i a woman, was published in 1981 and became widely recognised as an important feminist text. high drama in hong kong on wednesday, when more than 100 people had to be rescued from the top of a skyscraper, after a fire broke out. thirteen people were treated in hospital after a blaze took hold around lunchtime in the world trade centre
in the causeway bay area. 0ur reporter martin yip sent this update from the scene. it was lunchtime when smoke started billowing into the shopping mall levels. this video shows diners in a restaurant, not sure what to do. one told the bbc she had no fire alarm. the fire department confirmed later that they had to turn it off for renovation works. as people made their way out, some find it hard to go down the staircase because of the smoke. instead, they went up the smoke. instead, they went up onto the podium. some office workers ended up on the roof, more than 30 levels above ground but it did not take long before firefighters came to their rescue. the fire brigade spent around four hours to get
everything under control. this renovation is built in 1970s and it is a building that stands on the harbourfront the famous harbour. a£111" stands on the harbourfront the famous harbour.— famous harbour. our fireman discovered — famous harbour. our fireman discovered the _ famous harbour. our fireman discovered the fire _ famous harbour. our fireman discovered the fire was - famous harbour. our firemanj discovered the fire was heavy at the time of our arrival. a fireman, we find it... it is one of the reasons leading to the distress of the occupants inside. , , ., inside. they will investigate further the _ inside. they will investigate further the cause _ inside. they will investigate further the cause of - inside. they will investigate further the cause of the - inside. they will investigate | further the cause of the fire. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme: australia could face more scorching temperatures. we speak to an expert on extreme weather to find out how the heatwave is changing lives.
saddam hussein is finished because he killed our people, ourwomen, our children. the signatures took only a few minutes, but they brought a formal end to 3.5 years of conflict — conflict that has claimed more than 200,000 lives. before an audience of world leaders, the presidents of bosnia, serbia and croatia put their names to the peace agreement. the romanian border- was sealed and silent today. romania has cut itself off from the outside world i in order to prevent the details of the presumed massacre - in timisoara from leaking out. from sex at the white house to a trial for his political life — the lewinsky affair tonight guaranteed bill clinton his place in history as only the second president ever to be impeached.
this is newsday on the bbc. i'm karishma vaswani in singapore. 0ur headlines: record figures for new covid infections in the uk. more than 78,000 new cases were reported in the past 2a hours. president biden has been visiting kentucky to see the devastation caused by this weekend's tornadoes. he described it as being "almost beyond belief". let's turn to pakistan now, where seven years ago on the 16th december 2014, a school in peshawar in north—western pakistan was targeted by the pakistani taliban, also known as the ttp. 134 children were killed in what is regarded as the worst militant attack in the country in recent times. but now the authorities in pakistan have started a reconciliation process with the ttp — a group accused of being responsible for the deaths of more than 75,000 people. shumaila jaffery reports.
this man was shot in the head by the pakistani taliban, or the ttp, the day the army—run public school came under attack. he survived, but lost his mother, a school teacher. he says he will never be able to forgive and forget what he has been through. translation: why are their hearts are so filled _ with brutality and meanness? how can we give concessions to them or support for them and reconciliation with the ttp? those who deserve punishment must be punished, and it's our right that we should get justice. the city has seen hundreds of terrorist attacks by the pakistani taliban.
but the trauma the people experienced on 16 december 2014 is unforgettable. it was the day when seven gunmen affiliated with the ttp attacked the army public school. more than 130 children were among the dead. the attack is called a watershed moment in pakistan's fight against terrorism. it was followed by the numerous military operations in the tribal region. however, last month, pakistan announced it has started reconciliation talks with ttp. later, the taliban's visiting foreign minister confirmed that the process is being facilitated by them. translation: we welcome the talks and the cease-fire | between pakistan and the ttp. we will try to keep the process going and address the reasons for the conflict. the ttp is separate from the afghan taliban, but they share the same ideology and have close
connections. pakistan claims that most of the ttp fighters are hiding in and operating from afghanistan. this man believes the talks have been started at the afghan taliban's behest and that they will fail. these ttp, they are all criminals. where they have been struggling, where they have been playing football with their heads and in negotiations and agreements and those agreements have been violated. the ttp has unilaterally ended a month—long ceasefire and has resumed its attacks. the major roadblock is the release of more than 100 ttp fighters, including this man. the government says it's negotiating from the position of strength, but the general sentiment here is against giving any concessions to the militants who people believe have the blood of thousands pakistanis on their hands.
shumaila jaffery, bbc news. to australia now, which may see record temperatures this week of 50 degrees celsius in the interior and that may possibly spread into the south of the country. while the southern hemisphere summer can be hot in the outback, the record would spark talk of bushfires two years ago that drew on a combination of climate change and a near perfect mix of dry seasonal conditions. earlier, i asked for an update on the current weather conditions from dr sarah perkins—kirkpatrick, a chief investigator with the australian research council of excellence for climate extremes. in the north—west of australia we do have quite a severe heat wave developing. some parts of the far west are expected to see temperatures of about 50 degrees or so in the next couple of days. whether or not
that forecast eventuates to be quite that extreme remains to be seen. it is really hot, don't get me wrong, those temperatures would not be very pleasant experience, but also it is summer here and it is a very hot part of the country during summer. the temperatures that high aren't completely out of the picture, but certainly tipping 50 celsius or even potentially breaking 50 celsius may very well be a record in some places. may very well be a record in some places-_ some places. indeed. and, sarah, australia _ some places. indeed. and, sarah, australia has - some places. indeed. and, sarah, australia has been i sarah, australia has been through this many times before, hasn't it, what is the big concern of the big risk here? absolutely. i'm sure that many of you remember back in the 2019-2020 of you remember back in the 2019—2020 summer we had a very bad summer here, we had record—breaking temperatures, and bad equality because of the there is a tight link between bad heat, consequential droughts, and also bushfire weather. at that stage, during that summer, a lot of the heat and bushfire conditions were limited to the south—east of
australia, places like melbourne, sydney, canberra, the highly populated parts of australia. this time this particular heatwave is occurring in the north—west, thatis occurring in the north—west, that is a much more sparsely populated part of australia but it is also linked to bushfire risk stop and certainly well forecasting increase bushfire risk part of the country, we recently had some bushfires in perth, the capital of western australia, although that is a lot further south in this current heatwave. what are eo - le current heatwave. what are peeple most _ current heatwave. what are people most concerned - current heatwave. what are l people most concerned about right now, sarah, and what can people do as the weather becomes more volatile over the next few weeks?— becomes more volatile over the next few weeks? absolutely. so what we call _ next few weeks? absolutely. so what we call the _ next few weeks? absolutely. so what we call the black _ next few weeks? absolutely. so what we call the black summer| what we call the black summer here come the 2019—2020 summer, it was terrible. they live through it, was living in sydney at the time, the smoke quality was horrible, no—one could go outside, and it was a real wake—up call, think, too many people aboutjust how bad summers can get an will get in part due to climate change in this part of the world. as i've said, those conditions appeared
oh —— code of the most populous parts of sydney, for us to experience that, every day australia to experience that, has really put a negative spin on our summers. we usually really embrace some of them we love the hot weather, and we love the hot weather, and we love to celebrate it by going to the beach having a barbecue with our mates, that sort of thing, but now there is a much more nervousness going into summer, will it all going to be hot, how about willoughby, who will be affected? and the consequential changes around that as well. —— will it be. dr that as well. -- will it be. dr sarah that as well. —— will it be. dr sarah perkins—kirkpatrick there, extreme weather expert talking about the situation in australia right now. i want to bring you this story now. the racing driver lewis hamilton has been knighted at windsor castle, just days after controversially losing out on a record eighth formula 1 world title. sir lewis received the honour for services to motorsports from the prince of wales. meanwhile, the sports governing body, the fia, has announced an inquiry into sunday's race, saying the controversy around it is tarnishing the image of the championship. all this as f1�*s new world champion, max verstappen, has been celebrating his title with his red bull team
at their factory in milton keynes. our sports editor dan roan reports. it may have been at a slower speed than usual, but formula 1's new world champion returned to a hero's welcome today. max verstappen, able to celebrate with the entire staff at red bull's base in milton keynes, later the dutch driver telling me how it felt to have realised a lifelong ambition. it is slowly sinking in but also it has been very hectic so i'm also pretty tired at the moment. anything that will happen now is a bonus. not much will change but in the back of your mind you are a bit more relaxed because your ultimate goal you have achieved already. his victory over lewis hamilton in the season's deciding race in abu dhabi has divided the sport. mercedes failing with two protests after the dutch was given the chance to claim the title in the final lap after a restart, so has the controversy tainted
the success? not for me and not for the team. we raced when there was a green light, green flag and beat them on the track. when you look over the whole season, we had the most polls, most wins. mercedes have the option of appealing, they have until tomorrow evening to decide. would you like them now to just stop this fight and accept the result? it is difficult. i cannot speak for them. i think races should be won on the track. we will celebrate regardless, but we at least won it on the track. so lewis hamilton. having missed out on a record eighth title, hamilton meanwhile could at least celebrate receiving his knighthood today, max verstappen full of praise for the man who pushed him on the way. it has been a real pleasure fighting against him. we had our moments throughout the year when we clashed but we really respect each
other because we have pushed each other to the limit. despite the fallout, verstappen�*s victory marks a new era for a sport which is winning new fans, and aged just 24, there could be much more success to come. dan roan, bbc news. before we go, i want to tell you about this story coming out of australia. the australian captain pat cummins has been deemed a close contact of a person who received a positive covid—19 test last night. it to a statement from cricket australia that has just been issued. he is going to miss the second ashes test in cricket in australia and he was dining, apparently, in a restaurant last night, he didn't reach any bio security protocols, according to that statement will stop he isolated as soon as he became aware of the situation and has since had a pcr test which produced a negative result. just to say that pat cummins will now miss that pat cummins will now miss that second ashes test in australia. that is it from us
on newsday. thanks so much for watching. stay with bbc news for the latest headlines. hello there. temperatures were as high as 14 degrees on wednesday, and the rest of the week will stay mild. i suspect many of us, though, will continue to see cloudy skies like this. there was some sunshine, though, across a good part of yorkshire and lincolnshire on wednesday, but these areas with those clearer skies are starting a bit colder on thursday morning. mild elsewhere underneath that blanket of cloud. could be some mist and fog patches with those clearer skies across parts of northern england, even down into norfolk as well. we'll see those mist and fog patches lifting, and the best of the sunshine more likely to be to the east of the pennines in the north—east of england. a lot of cloud around elsewhere. there's a bit of rain and drizzle across northern parts of scotland becoming more confined towards the northern isles. whether you've got the cloud or not, though, it's still a mild day for the time of year. temperatures widely in double
figures once again. now, high pressure is building in across the uk. that's why it's so quiet, but that high pressure is bringing with it a good deal of cloud. now, the cloud could just be thick enough to give one or two spots of drizzle across more southern parts of the uk, whereas again a mild start on friday. a little bit chillier across some eastern parts of scotland, the north—east of england, perhaps even into the north west of wales, where there could be a few breaks overnight. but as you can see, not a great deal of sunshine on offer on friday. the winds are light in most places, just picking up a touch there in the far south—west of england. and again, it's mild. 8—9 degrees more typically across northern parts of england and scotland, this time temperatures are starting to ebb awayjust a little. this weekend, though, we're going to hang on the cloudy skies for most of the country. a lot of dry weather around as well, of course. limited amounts of sunshine means a limited amount of frost. it will be turning a bit colder as the weekend goes on.
you can see we may have some sunshine across the north east of scotland, perhaps west wales, into the far south—west of england, where there's a bit more breeze on saturday. but otherwise, it looks cloudy once again. and we may just sneak those temperatures across southern parts in particular into double figures. there's the area of high pressure. it's really taking a shine to the uk. it's not going to move very far at all during this weekend. so, again, the winds are likely to be light, but as you can see again it looks like it's going to be quite cloudy. that cloud could be quite low as well, so some mist and some fog potentially over some higher parts of the uk. and those temperatures beginning to drop away a little bit. it will feel a little bit chillier on sunday.